The pain of drug addiction and its tragic consequences is borne by us all.
They find themselves caught in a desperate cycle, continuously moving from mind numbing oblivion to the chase for more drugs and their next escape from a world that seems to have no place for them.
The chase for illegal drugs will involve users in unacceptable levels of moral, health and legal danger and will ultimately fail to provide the peace of mind and happiness that it falsely holds out as its prize.
An increasing number of deaths can be directly attributed to accidental illicit drug overdose. In 1979 there were just 70 overdose deaths (10.7 per million). By 1995 Australia recorded 550 drug overdose deaths (67 per million). This represents an annual increase of 12%. In 1999 the number of overdose deaths in Victoria out-numbered deaths from road crashes by mid-year. In 1997 there were over 11,000 hospitalisations Australia-wide from illicit drug-related causes.
Families and loved ones of users:
They experience the grief, the loss of trust, and the strain on relationships that accompanies the decline and slow loss of their loved son or daughter, sister, brother, friend or spouse.
The community generally:
Suffers a profound loss as the contribution and talents of thousands of young people are lost in a desperate and destructive lifestyle.
Bears the risks to public health of increased levels of blood-borne diseases, the unsafe disposal of syringes and the diversion of scarce resources into necessary drug treatment and research.
Faces a threat to the sense of "law and order" underpinning society. Enforcement and prison costs become enormous as users are drawn into the illegal activity of purchasing and using drugs and frequently into even more serious activities and levels of violence required to finance their expensive habit.
There is an increasing perception that the streets are not safe which undermines people’s confidence in society and its institutions.
For society, the economic cost of illicit drug use in Australia was estimated to be $1.6 billion in 1992, a 26% increase since 1998.